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How to understand and cope with leg cramps

Leg cramps are those excruciating pains that come on suddenly and go away all too slowly.

For people over age 60, more than 30 percent have a leg cramp at least once every two months and the older you are, the more likely you are to have them.

Our tendons (the tissues that connect muscles to bones) naturally shorten with age, according to the Cleveland Clinic, and this can leave us vulnerable, but cramps can have unknown causes or be caused by medications, underlying disease or lack of activity.


Some medications have cramping side effects. Among them: Albuterol/Ipratropium, estrogens, clonazepam, diuretics, naproxen, statins, Ambien, Lyrica, as well as some antidepressants and hormones.


Cardiovascular diseases, ALS, cirrhosis, diabetes, flat feet, kidney failure, Parkinson's, osteoarthritis, peripheral artery disease.

9 things you can do to get some relief

There is no pill or injection you can take to relieve the cramp, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Here is what you can do:

1. Stretch the cramping leg muscle, pulling toes toward the shin.

2. Massage. Use your hands or a roller.

3. Stand. Press feet to the floor.

4. Walk. Wiggle your leg as you walk.

5. Apply heat. Heating pad or a warm bath might help.

6. Cold. A bag of ice in a towel.

7. Pain killers. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

8. Elevate. Prop up the leg. If you can, find a less painful position and stay still. Try to relax. Wait.

Steps that may help prevent leg cramps

* Drink eight glasses of water every day. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

* Stretch and move during the day. Brief walking and stretching before bed may help.

* Wear supportive shoes.

* If you sleep on your back, don't let the blankets push your feet down. Keep your feet lightly covered with toes pointed up.

This story was posted on 2021-12-29 08:24:35
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